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When did the standalone release of Super Mario World come out?


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Not sure if this is a dumb question but I can’t find an answer easily. The only thing available at launch was an SNES Super Set for $199 right, with the pack-in in Aug/Sept 1991 so it wouldn’t make sense to have it available then. An early commercial even says “Super Mario World ... it comes only with Super Nintendo”. If some fancy SNES person knows what’s up, please fill me in.

Edit/Tl;dr: From what I can find, the Control Set (the first SNES not bundled with SMW) was announced 6/1/92. There is evidence that ties the retail SMW release to the release of the Control Set (they start to appear in catalogs simultaneously), as well as evidence people owned Control Sets by July 1992 (Usenet post). The earliest reference I found in a catalog to the individual release is Electronics Boutique September 1992. So I think it's safe to assume retail Super Mario World was released between June and September 1992, but I'll take any evidence to the contrary.


Here's an unnecessarily detailed list of links I'm looking at on my own to find the answer:

This is probably the most in depth article on the SNES launch, compiling many sources so we know only Super Sets were available at launch (A K-Mart 1991 commercial and Nintendo 1991 commercial also back this up). The Control Set came about a year later. No mention of retail SMW at this point.

Not a great source, but two people on Digitpress in 2004 recall being confused at seeing it separately available at retail. This would likely be after the Control Set launch, but Super Sets were still more popular to purchase.

Posts on Usenet from around launch say Super Mario World was the pack-in and "there were 2 other games available" and "I took a look at the SNES at Toys R Us today - comes w/ Mario, and you can buy Pilot Wings or F-Zero so far". We're dancing with wording here, but I would interpret that to mean Super Mario World wasn't available at launch, because why the heck would it be?

Usenet post from 1/4/92 about Blockbuster saying "presumably Super Mario World would only be rented by people renting an SNES". Did these rental copies have boxes from the get go, or were the rental SNESs basically just Super Sets? To me, it wouldn't make sense that Blockbuster got retail packaging for SMW, but that's speculation. Again this implies SMW is not available at retail.

6/1/92, Nintendo announces the Control Set

Usenet posts from 6/2/92 about the impending price drop "there's no WAY Nintendo will let you buy another controller and SMW for $40 total", implying SMW is not yet available at retail.

Usenet post from 7/21/92 of someone selling Super Mario World and clarifying maybe it's for someone who bought the $99 set in case anyone is confused. So apparently the Control Set came out June or July of 1992:

Usenet post from 9/9/92 with a SMW for trade implying he has the box for all his games, but it's hard to say if that applies to SMW since it's such a common pack-in.

Same guy posts later on specifying which games are missing boxes/manuals and does not specify that Super Mario World is loose, hmm.

Usenet post from 12/16/92 confirming the Control Set is definitely out by this point:

Numerous Usenet for sale posts from 1993 reference having a Super Mario World box from this point on

Sears 1992 Spring/Summer catalog is too early to mention the Control Set and doesn't have a standalone SMW
Sears 1992 Summer Catalog has no video games
Sears 1992 Fall/Winter catalog doesn't mention a standalone SMW
Sears 1992 Holiday Wishbook doesn't mention a standalone SMW and it has a pretty extensive selection otherwise.
Sears 1993 Spring/Summer catalog does have Super Mario world for $48.99.


The 1993 catalog was published in January 1993 https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1993-01-27-9303172618-story.html

Sears 1995 wishbook doesn't mention SMW.

The 1992 JC Penney Christmas Book does list Super Mario World, but has to strangely word it as "Super Mario World Game Cartridge" and has no box picture. It only makes sense that SMW was available for retail for Christmas since the Control Set was out.

1993 JC Penney Christmas book no mention of SMW, but does have Control Set
1994 and on JC Penney Christmas book no mention of SMW. Control Set is no longer mentioned. SNES is $129 at this point and comes with 2 games including SMW.

1993 Toys R Us toy catalog does not mention SMW at all
1994 Toys R Us toy catalog only mentions SMW as part of a 2-game Super Set
1995 Toys R Us Christmas catalog only mentions SMW as part of the SMAS+SMW bundle

1991 Electronics Boutique Fall catalog only mentions the Super Set SMW
1991 Electronics Boutique Holiday catalog only mentions the Super Set SMW
1992 Electronics Boutique Spring catalog only mentions the Super Set SMW
1992 Electronics Boutique Summer catalog technically doesn't mention SMW because it says the Super Set comes with SMB3, lol
1992 Electronics Boutique August catalog only mentions the Super Set SMW

Holy crap, the 1992 Electronics Boutique September catalog has not only a listing but a picture of that beautiful black box. And this is a monthly catalog that didn't list it last month! AND this is the earliest reference I can find to the standalone game. Paydirt! This is also EB's earliest reference to the Control Set, so as expected, this release appears to be linked to the Control Set.


Source: https://huguesjohnson.com/scans/EBSeptember92/

By the EB Christmas 1992 catalog the price was $44.99.
For the rest of 1993, SMW disappears from the EB catalog, then resurfaces for Christmas 1993 at $49.99, which is the last reference I see to it in any catalog so far. Thanks EB.



I have no yet found any 1994 and on references to the Control Set or SMW standalone. By 1994, Super Sets were so cheap, it looks like the Control Set was discontinued, so every system came with SMW again. Players Choice was announced in May 1996 according to Wikipedia (can't find any real source for this). Catalog scans are worse for the mid/late 90s so I didn't do much digging, but didn't see SMW again, but I do see other PC games.

Edited by DefaultGen
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